Textile designer Charlotte Macey sold her very first item on Folksy way back in the summer of 2009, before her business was even officially launched. Since then, she has built a name for herself as a British homewares brand with a rural English aesthetic combined with simple Scandinavian design. She’s achieved this by a creating quality products and photographs, maintaining a strong, consistent style, using Facebook to grow her fanbase, exhibiting at trade fairs, targeting stockists she feels are the right fit for her textile designs, and having a team of friends and family at hand to help her at busy times. We spoke to Charlotte to find out more…
Can you introduce yourself?
Hello! My name’s Charlotte and I am a textile designer and maker, and the owner of homewares brand Charlotte Macey.
When and how did you start your business?
I officially launched my business in May 2010. I already had a website that I’d been selling my embroidered artwork on since I finished university, so I updated it with the new products I had started making. I also discovered Folksy, so opened up a Folksy shop to give myself an extra platform to sell through. I still remember the feeling of excitement about my first sale!
Is Charlotte Macey just you or do you have a team of Charlottes?
Charlotte Macey is me and my ‘mini team’. My mum helps out with a lot of the making, and I have a few friends who help out with snipping when things get a bit crazy – particularly in the lead-up to big fairs and the run-up to Christmas. My dad also makes all the bookends that we sell out in his workshop – a true Cotswold craftsman!
My mum helps out with a lot of the making, and I have a few friends who help out with snipping when things get a bit crazy.
Do you think your experience working for a textiles magazine helped you when it came to running your own design business?
Yes I think so. I started as an intern at Selvedge Magazine and then stayed on as an office assistant. I think that experience helped me become a lot more competent in a range of areas. The range of tasks that I would complete in any one day was so varied, and that’s how each of my days are now – from design to admin, to customer service and accounts… let alone the sewing side of things!
How do you find stockists for your textiles?
When I first started out I would email small shops and galleries that I thought looked like the right fit for my products. I now also go to trade fairs and get enquiries through my website.
I started small at the Country Living Fair, sharing a stand with a fellow maker, and I’ve gradually increased the size of stand as time has gone on.
How have the trade fairs worked for you?
I started small at the Country Living Fair, sharing a stand for my first year with a fellow maker, and I’ve gradually increased the size of stand as time has gone on. I think you need to start small and work on building what you have.
How do you promote your work?
I generally stick to using our Facebook page, which is also linked to our Twitter page, so it’s a great time saver on busy days! I also send out one or two newsletters a month, with special offers, new products and details of any fairs we are going to throughout the year.